In a way, Ben Ranken’s wine career has come full circle. He grew up on a vineyard in Tumbarumba, a region in New South Wales famed for the quality of its chardonnay. Recently he and his wife purchased the Wilimee Vineyard in Macedon, another cool-climate region ideal for chardonnay. In the intervening years he gained considerable vintage experience in Australia and the northern hemisphere, and since 2007 has been making wine at Galli Estate, an incredible Sunbury-based producer that also has a vineyard in Heathcote. We chatted about his winemaking journey, his many influences, and also how important the Lorenzo Galli Scholarship is for educating the wine industry on the nuances of Italian grapes that they work extensively with.
Alice Feiring is without question one of the most passionate and controversial voices in wine today, having spent many years delving into her own love of authentic and natural wine. Through countless articles, blog and newsletter pieces, and several books, Alice has carved a path to not only find but also bring to light some of the rarest gems in the wine world. Whilst her opinions are far from universally welcomed, her integrity is hard to question. She joined me via Skype on this episode to talk about her path and her newest book, The Dirty Guide to Wine.
Growing up in Sydney Ned Goodwin was really into skateboarding, surfing and listening to the band Kiss. Little did he know that an exchange year in Japan at the age of 15 would combine with a global journey in hospitality to him working for a large restaurant group and becoming the first Master of Wine in Japan. On this episode he joined me to talk about his journey, his influences, his love of authentic Australian wine and his recent role as Brand Ambassador for Champagne Charles Heidsieck.
The 2016 Sommeliers Australia Ball was held recently, and I thought it might be fun to take my recording gear along and chat with a few sommeliers working in Melbourne. The first sommelier I spoke to was Kara Maisano from Masani Restaurant, the second was Tom Beattie who works at Dinner by Heston, and the third was Kayleen Reynolds, who not only works at CIty Wine Shop, but was also named the co-dux of the Sommeliers Scholarship. I asked them about how they got into wine and hospitality, their influences, and the challenges and rewards of being a somm.
Lawrence & Tim Scanlon grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, and it was only due to the fact that Lawrence worked in bottle shops while studying that either of them are in the wine industry today. A desire to study how to be a winemaker brought Lawrence to Melbourne, and after many years working as a tradesman Tim joined him and started working in vineyards just out of the city. Their consumption of and subsequent passion for low-intervention wines led them to start their own brand with their own expressions, under the Dirty Black Denim brand. They shared their story on this episode of Australia’s number one wine podcast.
Jane Faulkner is one of Australia’s most loved and respected wine journalists, with several decades of experience and countless tasting notes under her belt. She is also one of the most travelled wine writers, and is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian wine and alternative varieties in Australia. This is in part due to her role as chair of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. She (finally) joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about her background, her insights, her thoughts on wine communication, and the direction she hopes alternative varieties head in this country.
Walter Speller embraced wine in post-Cold War Berlin, particularly from Italy and Australia. After relocating to London, he was asked by Jancis Robinson if he would be interested in writing for her website, mostly as she admired him speaking his mind at a wine event. Since then he has become the main Italian correspondent, splitting his time between the UK and Padova. He has continued his interest in Australian wines, his opinion of Italian-variety-based wines in particular improving all the time. Walter was in Australia partly as a guest of the Melbourne International Food & Wine Festival, where I sat down with him to record this episode of The Vincast.
Sardinia is one of the most unusual wine-producing regions in the world, and there are few producers more unique than Tenute Dettori. The Romania area, located in the northern part of the island, is famous for its cannonau-based red wines; robust, rustic and long-lived. Alessandro Dettori took the mantle of running the estate at a very young age when his grandfather passed away and insisted that he take over. Since then he has been on a constant quest to maintain the traditions set out by his grandfather, whilst making the best most-representative wines he can with as little human impact as possible.
In August I took some behind-the-scenes footage at a few wine trade tastings here in Melbourne, and I thought I’d share it with you with the idea of showing how portfolio tastings are conducted. The two tastings were for Cellarhand Wines, and combined tasting of World Wine Estates, Enoteca Sydney and Vinous Imports.
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